The quick-cutting style, though, creates a forgettable blur.

THE DINNER CLUB

HOW THE MASTERS OF THE INTERNET UNIVERSE RODE THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GREATEST BOOM IN HISTORY

Washington Post reporter mishandles her inside access to an elite cub and draws a messy portrait of the Washington, D.C., Internet business scene.

The Capital Investors, which consists of 26 white men who are leaders of computer-related businesses headquartered around the nation’s capital, meet monthly for dinner. Founded unofficially in 1996, the club, whose most prominent member is AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case, was already losing its luster and assets when it first invited Henry to attend the November 2000 dinner. Here, she listens to their private conversations and hears presentations from leaders of new businesses soliciting cash and expertise. During dessert, CEOs of Internet and high-tech companies like Emtera, SwapDrive and MaTRICS make presentations, get peppered with questions and challenges, and occasionally leave with more than $200,000, although helpful advice is rare. Between meals, Henry rushes through portraits of Dinner Club members. James Kimsey, co-founder of AOL, is back from visiting Fidel Castro (FC has business cards), and now is off to Vietnam with President Clinton. Mario Morino, founder of a successful software company and generous philanthropist, shaped the Washington technology community. Henry uses club member Mark Warner’s successful Virginia gubernatorial campaign to frame, ineffectively, her narrative. The only memorable section is an excellent, extended chapter on MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor, whose company’s stock went from $333 per share to $1. Predictably, the story winds down with other Capital Investors losing their businesses, and dinner presenters returning for more cash. The narrative does work as a casual restaurant guide for Washington (tourists take note). Always dining well with the club, Henry informally recommends Teatro Goldoni, the Capital Grille, Nora’s, and Citronelle.

The quick-cutting style, though, creates a forgettable blur.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2002

ISBN: 0-7432-2215-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2002

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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